“Tip: Go to to find out who owns a site; this is the official Internet name database. If you type in ‘,’ you’ll find out that it was registered in July 1996 to some guy in Scotts Valley, CA. This site is very useful both to check out if names are free and to see who is really behind a site.” – Ken Shirriff


“Sorry to hear about your bum trade. At Schwab, they display the ‘estimated commission’ on the screen before you hit the final button to send the order. Maybe Schmidelity could benefit from such a feature.” – Dan Mitchikoff

A.T.: Yes, indeed. Of course, that would just drive home how much more you’re paying than necessary.


“I liked your [Schmidelity] column today. It reinforces my inclination not to keep an account my father had at a certain very large full service brokerage firm. What surprised me though is that you were buying $40,000 of a penny stock for your mother. Your mother? How does this fit any sensible suitability guidelines? She’s probably retired or near retirement so she may need the money soon. I realize it’s an AMEX stock and not off the pink sheets, but the last time I looked, none of the S&P 500 stocks were under a buck so it probably doesn’t have a big market cap. YOU may be really, really rich, but this is your mother’s money not yours. What’s her risk tolerance? A lot of common sense is reflected in your books and columns. Did none of it come from her, or is she the eccentric billionaire to whom the normal rules don’t apply?”

A.T.: In the first place, my mother is a couple of years younger than I am. (“I have two sons,” she is fond of quoting the late Hermione Gingold, “both younger than I.”) And she is neither eccentric (I would say more: “energetic”) nor, sadly, a billionaire (I would say more: “comfortable”). What’s more, what common sense I do have (clearly not evident in my latest Amazon foray), did come from my folks. Children of the Depression, they know well the value of a dollar and passed it on to me.

In the second place, the stock I bought her for under a buck is what they call a “special situation,” and one of which I have written here before. So far, we’re doing OK.

Tomorrow: More on Linda and the Minimum Wage



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