By Amanda Morrall
1) Getting high - on Mary Jane stocks
My, my how times are changing in the U.S. The legalisation of medical marijuana in 18 states (plus Washington D.C.) has sparked a flurry of interest in small cap companies budding into this burgeoning little business. According to this Market Watch piece, a softening in the acceptance of pot for both recreational and medical use is creating hothouse conditions for companies moving into this area. A source quoted in the aforementioned story estimated the medical marijuana industry is worth US$1.7 billion U.S. Not sure we'll see New Zealand moving in this direction any time soon but it might pay to keep a close watch given game changing demographic changes headed our way.
2) Shopping with Carmel Fisher
Boutique fund manager Carmel Fisher, in her most recent Sunday Star-Times column, bemoans the on-going pay gap between the sexes and concerning statistics that all too many women will be living off the smell of an oily rag in old age because of a lack of financial foresight and a scarcity of savings. Carmel worries she'll be the only gal on deck who can afford nice shoes (bought on sale of course) when she's cruising the world. I have a long way to go to catch up with Carmel but I'll be there sister. Just one question: Will I embarrass you if I wear my flip flops? Way more comfortable.
3) The economics of flirting
God bless America. Where else could you get away with discussing the economics of flirting on a national business show? This was just too entertaining to pass up. Imagine how dreary corporate culture would be without flirters.
4) Beware of planned obsolescence
A thing that has always puzzled me, is the manufactured consumer desperation for the latest, greatest. We don't see it so much in New Zealand but in the U.S., the release of the latest this, that or the other IT thing, will cause otherwise rational people to queue up overnight to crash through the doors of Wal Mart and the like for the privilege of being the first to empty their pockets. The sad thing about this herding mentality, apart from the fact that people sometimes get trampled, is that they'll be back in five years time reliving the same sorry scenario. Planned obsolescence means it's a never ending game that keeps consumers on a rope.
What are the options? According to Forbes money writer Luke Landes you exercise choice (do you really need the latest iPhone model?) or accept the financial consequences of being stuck in a consumer cycle that will perpetually empty your pockets.
5) Too poor for your haircut?
Josh Sanburn, writing for Time Money, sheds some light on how up and coming New York writer Benjamin Anastas, found himself in a deep dark debt-driven hole. Interesting Q&A. Anastas learned the hard way that $85 hair cuts, when you're living on the dole, is a bad idea.
To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall