Question: Any of you out there using MYM DOS V12 under Windows XP? Does it work OK? Do you have XP ‘Home’ or ‘Professional?’ Let me know. Thanks!


Frank McClendon: ‘Here’s the plan. When Mark Shuttleworth (the very rich space tourist) returns from space, everybody dress in ape suits. It will only work if we all do it. Pass it on.’

☞ It’s a great plan, never mind that Shuttleworth has been back for the better part of a month now. I expect this to be floating around the Internet, like satellite debris, for decades. And I laugh every time I get it.


Jim S: ‘I was looking at your column(s) about I-bonds, and went to the government site to see what rates are like today. Seems like they are in the 2.5% range. This is much worse than a 4.5% five-year CD rate, which is pretty easy to find. Are I-bonds a bad idea now, or did I read the rate wrong?’

☞ Well, I-Bonds purchased today yield inflation-plus-2%, free of local income tax and sheltered from federal tax until you cash them in (or permanently tax-free if you qualify to use them for your kids’ tuition). How that stacks up against 4.5% in a 5-year CD depends on what the inflation rate turns out to be and your tax bracket. Either way, it’s great that you’re saving; neither way will you get rich.


Jeff Houston: ‘Just wanted to say thanks for letting me know about Priceline. At the last minute, we needed a Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I had never used Priceline but remembered reading about it on your website. Asked for ‘three stars’ at $60 a night and got it! The normal price is $200. Just now we found that we needed to stay one more night, used Priceline, and got the same hotel for $60 again.’

☞ Glad to know it worked out. As mentioned here also, Expedia can be even better. First check its published offers; then use Priceline to see if you can beat them by enough to warrant ‘going blind’ (with Priceline, you don’t know which hotel they’ll assign you) and ‘uncancelable’ (with Priceline, if your plans change, you are out the full cost of the stay – versus just $25 with Expedia). And remember that Priceline tacks on a $5.95 nightly service charge.

(Remember, too, that with either of them, you save not just on the room rate – $200 versus $60 in this example – but also on what can be as much as 16% in taxes on the room rate.)


Item 18: Why Stay Fully Invested?

Most of the time the stock market moves indecisively within a trading range. It is only during relatively brief periods that the market moves up or down on a sustained basis. Studies have shown that much of the profit made in any given year, especially in bull markets, is made on the 5 biggest up days. Anyone out of the market on those days will show substantially lower results than the investor who stayed in the market for the entire year. Since the brief explosive upside moves are unpredictable, the investor must be in the market to catch them. Most of the investor’s time is spent waiting. When Peter Lynch was managing Magellan [1977-1990], he was fully invested at all times.


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