Friday, January 23, 2009

Friends Are At Your Fingertips

I started talking to people from all over the world almost 13 years ago when I discovered the internet. It was like a dream come true for me: I found my niche in life. Chatting on the internet was the perfect medium for me because I'm not the greatest speaker. I never realized it until then that my fingers could actually talk better than my mouth could. That discovery coupled with my inherent curiosity about people of different cultures turned me into a monster Chataholic.

Those chataholic days are long gone, however. My Pakistani friend, Dilshad, was right. At the height of my chat addiction, I couldn't imagine not being able to chat, but he said "This is just a phase for you." I doubted him because he was "only" in his twenties and I was sure I was twenty years WISER than he. Turns out he was right because I rarely chat anymore. It was wonderful while it lasted and I met dozens of interesting people from all around the world. I even met many in person and guess what: not one weirdo! It certainly changed my attitude and made me less egocentric and less fearful. Despite differences in cultures, people are basically the same around the world.

It cannot be said enough that the internet has revolutionized the world and will hopefully continue to change people for the good and bring cultures together. That may be wishful thinking, but I can hope. Imagine if I weren't the only person to venture into a chatroom and befriend people from Sweden, India, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Holland, etc. etc. I liked to imagine that I was an ambassador from Hawaii, promoting better understanding and friendship.

Much has been said to discourage people from meeting others online, but in my experience there have been far more good stories than bad. As long as you are cautious and don't divulge too much information, talking to others online can be enriching. In my opinion, the people who think the internet is not the place to connect with others have very little experience doing so. After all, you can go out of your house and meet people IN PERSON who have hidden agendas, too. Just read your newspaper and you'll see what's happened to someone who encountered a bad person in their own neighborhood. You may very possibly be safer staying home and talking to people online! *LOL*

I still communicate with many of the people I've met online and they remain "friends at my fingetips"!

Thanks for reading!
Aunty Kalina

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Valuable and Timely Advice

If I were you--assuming you're younger than 40--and if I had any extra cash (aye, there's the rub), I'd open an investment account ASAP and start investing in either individual stocks and/or mutual funds. There is no better time than now, especially if you're in your 20's.

The advice I give to all young people is SAVE NOW, NOW!!! I mean NOW!!! Even if it's "only" $50 a month..or whatever you can afford to save! Forget about waiting til later because you'll have to save even MORE later due to compounding interest, inflation, whatever. I'm no expert, but all I do know is, I started saving from the time I started working parttime in high school. My husband and I started investing when we were in our 20's with the help of a "financial advisor" from what is now Ameriprise (I'll be happy to refer anyone!). We knew nothing and still know very little about the stock market or mutual funds, but yet today we are "comfortable" despite never having high paying jobs.

Now that the stock market is in the dumps, we lost almost half of the value of our investments and yes, it's scary, but I haven't taken out a single dollar because I'm confident it will eventually be worth it to wait. This is why, for the new investors, it's such a great opportunity. You get to buy in at super low prices.

I recommend talking to an advisor (ours doesn't charge anything as he gets paid by Ameriprise) or you could even open and manage your own online account. For individual stock advice, Jim Jubak at is pretty good. I wish I had listened to him when he advised switching to cash last year!!

If you do plan to invest, do so gradually, do not plunk a chunk in the market all at once tomorrow. As all advisors recommend, invest a little every month to take advantage of "dollar cost averaging."

Once again... do not wait. You'll thank me later, believe me! (By the way, I get nothing for linking to Jim Jubak.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What am I doing here?

Welcome to my first post! I don't know what to expect from this posting, but I'm just following a dream. I live a very contented life and often feel that I'm not contributing enough. Being myself, I'm not one to go out and help people build houses or clean beaches, so I wondered what I could do to help others. I've been online for over 12 years and have made many friends online as well as offline and one thing I've been told by many people is that I'm a good listener and am able to make others feel better when they tell me their problems.

I have no professional qualifications for being a listener/advisor and I don't make any claims to that effect. I just have my life experiences that have taught me, the personality that I was born with (developed over 55 years), and best of all, I'm not your mother. *LOL* I'm your Aunty!

My blog posts will hopefully help you to look at life in new ways. Feel free to leave comments to let me know your concerns or questions!