May 20, 2011

AAII - nonprofit investing organization

I have been an investor for over 15 years now. During that time I have subscribed to various publications, especially magazines, like Money, SmartMoney, and Kiplinger's.

At least once a year I would receive a letter from AAII - American Association of Individual Investors. Years ago, I noticed that at the end of the letter the yearly membership fee was slashed with the wording of something like "this is a one time offer" or "the dues has never been reduced before, act now."

Well, that was an outright lie, because I would get that same letter at least once a year. AAII has been praised by many publications as being a trustworthy valuable newsletter. To me, if they lie on their marketing material what do they do in their newsletter!

So several years ago, I wrote the CEO a letter, placed it in the postage paid envelope, and mailed it to AAII. Of course, I have never heard from them regarding the matter, but the new marketing letters I now receive just slash the yearly fee without any comments.

Since AAII is a nonprofit organization they need to submit an IRS Form 990 which lists their revenue, expenses, and salaries of the top people. The best website I have found that posts this information is the NCCS.

Upon looking at the 990 for 2009 we find their revenue was about $6 million and expenses were about $7.5 million. Of the $7.5 million in expenses about $3 million was for the salaries of the 28 people that work there. Of those 28 people, 9 make more than $100,000 per year. The chairman and the president/ceo each make almost $500,000 a year with their salary and benefits.

My point? For being a nonprofit it sure does sound like the chairman and the president/ceo make a nice profit for themselves! But these are just my thoughts.

Oh, and their investment income last year: $-264,774. Thanks, but I think I'll stick with my own investing plan and program.

May 09, 2011

Book Review

An Anchor for the Soul by Ray Pritchard

This is a book for those people that know very little about God and are interested in learning about Him. It is like an introduction to the Christian life. The book is less than 200 pages, but is a quick easy read.

The author has a writing style that would interest a seeker or someone curious about God, yet it presents the facts of Christianity in a simple, clear and correct way. This isn't an easy believism, make you feel good kind of book. The book presents Christ in a real, living manner.

I think the subtitle of the book really says it all, "Help for the present, Hope for the future."

I recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about God yet aren't prepared to jump into His Word.

May 06, 2011

Book Review

Basic Elements of the Christian Life by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee

This is more like a booklet. It contains 5 small chapters about the basics of a Christian according to Lee and Nee. The five chapters each introduce an element of Christian living.

The chapters are:

  • The Mystery of Human Life

  • The Assurance, Security, and Joy of Salvation

  • The Precious Blood of Christ

  • Calling on the Name of the Lord

  • The Key to Experiencing Christ - the Human Spirit

The authors are right on with the first two chapters but then start to proclaim some things about the blood of Christ that seem a little off to me. In particular apply the blood of Christ to your life and sins. According to the authors, once the blood has been applied to cover your sins, if Satan still bothers you, then you need to talk to Satan and tell him that Christ has covered your sins.

Here is a sample conversation with Satan from page 28. "Satan, I have confessed my sin to God. He has forgiven my sin, and the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed me from it. This uneasiness that I sense right now is not from God; it is from you, and I reject it! Satan, now you must look at the blood of Christ. That blood answers every one of your accusations." I am not so sure striking up a conversation with Satan is a good idea. He is pretty clever and crafty.

In the next chapter, the authors stress the practice of calling on the name of the Lord. This must be done out loud. It is not just merely a prayer, but a shout out to God. Again according to the authors it helps us be saved in a more richer thorough way. I am not sure what they mean by more thorough. You are either saved or you are not.

Therefore after reading through this booklet, I cannot recommend it. The Living Stream Ministry gives out a lot of free books and pamphlets based upon the teachings of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. I would be very suspect of any of their writings. While I believe some of what they say is biblical, other concepts appear to have been twisted from Scripture.

May 04, 2011

BIC Hybrid Advanced

After two months of use I am giving my review of the BIC Hybrid Advanced razor. As previously noted in my letter to BIC, these razors are bad.

This is a three blade disposable razor cartridge system. Each package contains a handle and 6 cartridges.

The razor costs about $6 for the handle and 6 cartridges. The cartridge connection to the handle is very cheap and I believe could easily break. I actually paid $3.99 for the razor, so my cost is about $0.66 per razor.

The vitamin E lubricating strip is junk as well. It didn't seem to do anything at all. The back of the cartridge head is tight and gets clogged easily. I found the shave to be very bad. It wasn't close at all, yet it somehow managed to cut me frequently.

In other words, even at $0.66 a razor, it isn't worth it. My rating is a 40%.

The next razor up for review in two months is the BIC Flex 4. This is the razor I bought with my free coupon from BIC. We'll see if it works any better.