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Roundup: Hot Hot Heat and How to Stay Cool

Posted By Jim On 07/11/2010 @ 12:00 pm In Personal Finance | 9 Comments

It’s been insanely hot this past week as the thermometer has routinely broken 100 degrees in the Baltimore Washington area. We’ve been fortunate in that we live in an area where blackouts and brownouts, even as air conditioners are running full blast, are rare but the temperatures have just been unbearable. I don’t know what’s worst, the temperature or the humidity, walking outside is like being waterboarded!

A few tips on how to keep cool followed by our links for the week:

  • Take advantage of other people’s A/C… and by other people I mean the local mall.
  • Cook outside if you can, such as on the grill, or using the microwave to keep your home cooler. Avoid using burners and definitely avoid the oven.
  • Eat cool dishes, rather than hot ones.
  • Line dry clothes, you don’t need your dryer competing with your air conditioning.
  • Only cool the rooms you use. If you live in a house and can block off some vents, do so when you have central air on. If you use an room-sized AC unit, stick it in the room you’ll be in.
  • Use the fan. A fan works by blowing your body heat away from you, so you don’t need it on when you aren’t around. You can use it to exhaust hot air from a room by blowing it outside and create natural circulation in your home.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated!
  • Limit your time outdoors, the sun can significantly sap your strength.

Here are the week’s links:

  • Ignore generic personal finance advice. [3] That’s the advice Carl Richards offers and while I agree with the basic premise, that generic personal finance advice is like any type of generic advice, you need to view it through the prism of your own life and set of circumstances. You can’t blindly follow it and assume it’ll work. If the name sounds familiar, you might know him better as the mind behind behavior gap [4].
  • Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Work Week fame has a pair of posts that all prospective MBA candidates need to take a look at – How to create your own Real-World MBA part 1 [5] and part 2 [6]. But remember, much like Carl above said that generic advice isn’t something everyone should follow, you need to read Ferriss’ posts with that in mind.
  • Proposition 19 in California would make recreational use of marijuana legal in the state, which means they would be able to tax it… but studies show that if marijuana were legalized, it would drop in price by 90% [7]. It’s a classic case of economics. If something is illegal, it’s more expensive because buyers have to pay sellers for the added risk of selling. If it were made legal, then there is no risk and you’re now just talking about supply and demand. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out if this is passed as it’s an even larger case of state law conflicting with federal law.
  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said [8] the Obama administration hopes to keep the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20%, rather than to tax them as ordinary income (as they are scheduled to be if the Bush tax cuts expire). It won’t make a tremendous difference on my personally but it would likely be a punch to the gut of the stock market, where people look to when they need a morale “wealth effect [9]” boost.

Have a great (cool) weekend!

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[3] Ignore generic personal finance advice.: http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/ignore-generic-financial-advice-except-this-post/?src=busln

[4] behavior gap: http://www.behaviorgap.com/

[5] How to create your own Real-World MBA part 1: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/06/28/mba/

[6] part 2: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/07/05/how-to-create-your-own-real-world-mba-part-ii/

[7] drop in price by 90%: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/08/national/main6658178.shtml?tag=stack

[8] Tim Geithner said: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/07/08/geithner-offers-hope-on-20tax-rate-for-capital-gains-dividends/

[9] wealth effect: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/wealth-effect-definition.html

Thank you for reading!