MonthApril 2014

Own Your Name

This concept didn’t originate with me, and I can’t find the site(s) where I originally read about the importance of owning your own name online.  I’m not trying to take someone else’s idea here, just emphasize the truth behind the idea.  You need to own your own name online.

I realized a long time ago that you need to own your name in the form of a website.  I own basically every variation of russellhollander I can get my hands on, .net, .biz, .us, .org, .whatever.  I bought these domains so I don’t have anybody else out there operating under my name.  Not that anybody would do so maliciously, but if they are also named Russell Hollander.  Well, I was here first, and that’s going to be me.  You can find a different name to operate under online.  Someone else before me got rhollander and hollander, so I took russellhollander.

I hadn’t considered how this same logic applies to social media though.  Honestly I find social media kind of tiring.  I maintain a Facebook and a Twitter, but I don’t particularly care for them.  I keep FB going because I’ve got a ton of friends on there from college, and don’t have another way of being in touch with them.  I guess I could get their phones and email addresses, but it’s easier to just let FB handle all that for me.  I keep it pretty locked down though.  I kind of view Twitter as my public face on social media, but I barely send out any tweets.  I mostly use it to just keep track of news.  I guess I have a Google+ as well, don’t do anything with that.  Oh yeah, and Linked in.  Guess I should make better use out of these things.

But the Instagram Imposter episode has taught me that you need to own your name on social media too, even when it is annoying.  I don’t know anything about Instagram other than Facebook owns it.  Yet some miscreant got on there, set up an account with basically my name, stole my photo from Twitter, and at least had the decency to also post this web address.  I can’t really see that the person did anything with the account.  No activity.  I would’ve never even known about it unless a couple friends of mine told me they were following me on there.  Well, you can’t follow me on Instagram as of this writing, because I don’t use an Instagram.  But maybe I should.  Someone else is out there pretending to be me.  I can’t have that.

In the end, Instagram removed that account, so for now the issue is resolved.  I’d still like to know if it was a person creating that, or if Instagram somehow scrubbed publicly available data and made that account to inflate their numbers, as was suggested by a friend of mine in the web design, SEO, and marketing business.

The whole point I’m rambling towards is that you probably should have an account for yourself with these services, if nothing else so your presence on the web is actually coming from you.  Most of us are insignificant enough no one would bother to take our names or try to pretend to be us, but I don’t know why you’d even give out the opportunity.  Maybe that’s a paranoid way of looking at things, but I’d look at is as proactive.

Someone Is Impersonating Me on Instagram

I don’t have an instagram account.  If you go to www.instagram.com/russhollanderk you will see an account using my image and listing my website address.  I did not set this account up, and this is not me.  I am not this person.  I found out about it when friends of mine in the real world told me they were following me on instagram.

Instagram’s “help center” or whatever is being anything but helpful.  In addition to having no phone number or email address or whatever, their annoying form to dispute this account isn’t working.  And they’re demanding that I send them color photos of government issued IDs.  Well, I don’t like that, but I’m trying to do it.  And they won’t let me.

The impersonator doesn’t appear to really be doing anything.  I’m wondering if Facebook just decided to create this account for me.  If that’s the case, they need to let people know they’re doing that.  Instagram needs to make their support and help pages actually useful.

I’ll post another update whenever this situation resolves itself, if ever.

 

Update 10:42

I think I finally got the form to submit on the official instagram help page, so hopefully the ball is rolling.  I also tweeted @Instagram and @Instagram help to try to move things along.  I have a feeling I’ll get faster action that way hopefully.  I’m sure the Instagram app and website are dandy, but I don’t use that service, and don’t want anyone using my image, likeness, and name out there.  People that do use Instagram love it, and I’m sure their support is good, and the problem I was having submitting the dispute form was on my end.  Further updates to come.

 

Update 10:51

Got an email from the Instagram support after submitting the form finally worked.  I emailed them back with the exact same info I had submitted, just to be sure.  I’m sure they’ve got the ball rolling now.  Hopefully this will be done quickly.  Below is a screenshot of the imposter account, just for fun.

Imposter

 

Update 10:57

Just an observation, not really a development.  The Instagram dispute form wanted color copies of a government issued ID where they can clearly see my name and so forth.  Well, in addition to my driver’s license, I keep my passport in my work bag.  My girlfriend thought it was weird to have that on me.  Maybe that isn’t smart, but I always know where it is.  And it came in handy today.  I know I’m me, and I have two forms of gubmint ID to prove it, basically at all times.  I’ve got my social security card on me too, come to think of it.  Right behind my fishing license in my wallet.

Update 4:30 on 4/19
Overnight I got an email from Instagram saying the fallacious account was deleted. They didn’t elaborate on whether an individual was responsible, or if it was something created automatically, which is a theory that seems more and more likely. Also, I’m making this update from my phone. This is my first time using WordPress as an app on my phone. Seems pretty good so far.

Get Your Money Running Right

The last time I posted something to this site was December of 2011. That’s a long time for a webpage to sit and languish. When I first started my website and blog, I was hoping I could find a way to turn it into a source of income for myself. That hasn’t happened so far, and will probably never happen for this site. I think there’s money to be made on the internet, and if I can find a way to do it some day, I will.

 

But for the purposes of this website, since it has my name on it, I’m going to start using this as just a personal blog. I have things I want to say, so I’m going to use this vehicle to say them, rather than only on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Now for the topic of this post. Money. Before I got my job at Cerner back in the beginning of 2011, I was down to just $178 in the bank. That’s what happens when you just bum around for 5 months without really having a plan. It was fun (sort of) at the time, but I much prefer having a plan, having things to do, and having an income.

 

I’m grateful for my income, and I try to save and invest wisely. I’m finally to the point in life, as of the last couple years, where I’m able to own a house, set some dough aside, and generally start playing the long game financially.

 

At some point, I realized that despite the fact I have a finance degree, I know way less about investing than I need to. I’m trying to change that. That’s my advice to you as well, start getting your money running right.

 

But once you know you want to save and invest responsibly, the question becomes how to do that. I’m still looking for those answers. I’m not an investment advisor, so I’m just telling you want my thought process is, and what my plans are going forward. You are responsible for your money, so keep that in mind when reading this. Consult your own financial advisor and do your own research. Hopefully saying this will keep me from getting sued by you.

 

Over a year ago, I downloaded the entire audio archive of the Harry Browne Investment Show. I’m finally making time to listen through them. If you want to listen yourself, you can find the entire archive here in a zipped file.

 

In the first time, he talks about the 16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety. Those rules appear in article form on his website, which you can find here. I can’t really find anything to disagree with in what he said. The thing that makes the most sense to me that he says though is rule #1, which is that your career is the primary source of your wealth. He says, You most likely will make far more money from your business or profession than from your investments. Only very rarely does someone make a large fortune from investments.”

 

For the vast majority of us, this is probably true. Especially investing in large cap stocks and such. How many shares of Apple or Google stock can a 26 year old only 3 or so years into the workforce legitimately buy? Not that many. So you take your 4.5 shares of Google stock and hope it keeps going up, but even if it goes up $20/share, that’s really not that much in percentage terms. Probably not going to get rich quick.

 

Harry Browne also talks about having two separate portfolios: the Permanent Portfolio and the Variable Portfolio. I’m still reading up on the concept of the Permanent Portfolio, but essentially you put 25% into US Stocks, 25% in long-term US T-bonds, 25% in cash, and 25% in gold or other precious metals. More information is available in Browne’s book “Fail Safe Investing” which I just got through Amazon the other day. The Variable Portfolio contains money you use for speculation, money you can afford to lose.

 

Another site I’ve been reading that has been influencing my thinking lately is Mr. Money Mustache. The site appears to be down while I’m typing this. Hopefully it comes back online so you can check it out. This guy is big on early retirement, and his advice for getting there makes a lot of sense to me: control your expenses. Don’t waste all your income on ridiculous car payments, super high mortgages, Ivy League pre-school (his term), and eating out all the time. He has great articles on safety margin and withdrawal rates.

 

Essentially, if you can save up 25 times what your annual expenses are, you’re ready to retire. If you keep your expenses under control, that amount is something you can accumulate a lot faster than you might realize. I was convinced I need $2 million before I can retire. That’s a nice figure to shoot for, but if I maintain my current lifestyle, or only let it inflate just a bit, the figure you need to retire assuming a 4% withdrawal rate isn’t that far out of reach.

 

Hopefully this article wasn’t too incoherent. I’m a bit rusty since I haven’t written anything in over 2 years. What do you do for saving and investing? Leave me a comment below.

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