It was a fine day today, so I went out this afternoon to Riverdale for the B.A.Hs Roadside Rock Peaks geocache. It's on a small rocky hill overlooking Route 23. A large part of the scenery, however, was of the new strip mall across Route 23. The other feature of the area is a deer graveyard, where the town apparently piles up deer roadkill from the highway. Good thing it was cold enough today that the rotting deer flesh didn't stink. Anyway, after taking in all that highway, strip mall, and deer graveyard scenery, I went to Burger King in Ramsey to get Double Stackers for takeout. I'm down to my last two BK coupons. Pay full price? *shudder* :)
Health insurance finally paid the dental claim. They rejected it the first time. Then the dentist refiled the claim and this time, they accepted it. What's different between the first claim and the second claim? Nothing that I can see. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect they were just flipping a coin to decide whether to accept the claim.
My efforts at consolidating accounts have paid off as I'm already halfway done with my taxes. On this day last year, I was only 10% done. The tax refund meter is now at -$4,053 so my guess is I'll owe about $2K less than my initial overly-pessimistic estimate.
Saw this article at Financial Sense University: Real Investment Tax Rate Is 256% Higher Than Stated
The article shows why an inflation hedge alone does not do the trick. If you own an inflation hedge that holds its value against the declining dollar, that constant value will show up as a capital gain in dollar terms and the Federal government will tax you on that capital gain when you sell the inflation hedge. (It's worse than that. Government spending itself causes inflation. So the same government that causes inflation also sabotages any attempt at counteracting that inflation. That's how the deck is stacked against the individual investor.) One possible exception is if you hold the inflation hedge in a Roth IRA but that comes with limitations on how much you can contribute and when you can make tax-free withdrawals.
So what's the solution? Seems to me that one would have to leverage the inflation hedge (e.g. buy gold on borrowed money) in order to stay ahead of both inflation and taxation, but that strikes me as a strategy with a bit more risk than I'd like. It's a perennial conundrum.
That little trade I snuck in last Tuesday morning is now up by about 14%. It's madness! Precious metals have moved up enough over the last half year though that a correction at this time would be healthy. The problem is with the perfect storm of an interest-rate-cutting Fed, an economy-stimulating legislature, and financial market uncertainty, I don't see a good reason for a significant drop in precious metals. Which means that when it inevitably happens, it'll take me completely by surprise. I hate surprises! But I'll enjoy this period while it lasts and keep some cash on the side ready.