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Fool Year Resolutions
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By Tom Gardner (TomGardner@aol.com)

Alexandria, VA (Dec. 29, 1998) -- To kick off the New Year, I sent out a request to the 100+ employees of Fool Global Headquarters (Alexandria, VA and remote stations), and asked them to share any of their financial resolutions for 1999. The first twenty-eight replies make up today's report.

What financial resolutions will you make in 1999, Fool?

Here are the responses:

TMF Cutter (Thom), Foolish Techie: To balance, or not to balance, that's the question. Actually, no, that's the problem. I resolve to balance my books more than once per year, in the hopes of actually knowing where I stand financially.

TMF Ski (Tom), Foolish Techie: I resolve to get my wife's and my own credit card debt completely paid off (we are so close...). Then, much like the African Tse-Tse fly, we'll never let a card balance live longer than thirty days again!

TMF Amused (Jen), Fool Editor: I resolve this year to avoid credit card debt. I just paid off my outstanding credit card balances, which I've done once or twice since racking up the debt after college. This time, though, I'm going to stay out of debt by budgeting major expenses and resisting the impulse to buy things I don't need.

TMF Psyche (Amy), Foolmart Manager: In 1999 I will not fill up the credit cards which I completely paid off in 1998. I will also teach my stepsons about money (budgeting, saving, investing, etc.) to get them started far earlier than I did (Note: They're already reading You Have More Than You Think). I will also set more aside in my investment account in 1999 and simultaneously build up our emergency savings account. Finally, I'll also demand a huge raise from the Fool, to kick in New Years Day, 1999 (even though I'd work here for free). I have big plans.

TMF Judy (Judy), Fool Customer Service: Having learned to read at a very early age, I've always had the mistaken notion that I could buy stocks whose tickers began with ANY letter of the alphabet, as long as they were fundamentally Foolish. I now resolve to focus almost exclusively on those stocks starting with A: Amazon, America Online, Amgen, AtHome. The heck with reading!!

TMF Zog (Ginger), Fool Business: I'd like to have a good deal of my monthly billings handled online in 1999. And I'd like to find ways to invest my money outside of the stock market (gasp).

TMF Czar (Keith), Fool Production: I'm going to finish paying off my student loans, four years early. I figure it's important to finish paying down the loans before I completely forget everything I learned in school.

TMF Selena (Selena), Fool Writer: I resolve to be more frugal in 1999. I'll drink more water and fewer soft drinks (water's better for me, anyway). I'll subscribe to just my favorite magazines (after all, I hardly have time to read the others) and I'll use my library more than my bookstore. Finally, I'll refrain from starting smoking (Note: A $2.50 pack a day amounts to almost $1,000 per year). Then, I'll plow these savings into great stocks and hang on for the long term.

TMF Value (Carl), Fool Techie: In 1999, I resolve to actually look at all of my bank statements, checks, ATM withdrawals, and credit card statements (used just for convenience and to get frequent flyer miles, paid off at the end of every month) to ensure that things are in order. Just looking at the bank balance or paying the bill and saying "Um... this looks right..." will not cut it for me in 1999.

TMF Jones (TJ), Fool Operations: I resolve to stay married to my wife by living below my means. That includes reducing credit card debt, paying off student loans, reducing my consumption of DirecTV optional packages, getting off my duff and actually signing up for the 401(k) plan rather than just nodding my head, scratching my belly, and saying I'll catch it the next go round. A simple resolution.

TMF Conch (Mark), Fool Production: My financial resolution last year was to eliminate all of my credit card debt. Happily, thanks to some Foolishness I found on the message boards, I was able to fulfill that resolution on October 15th. Now that I've killed that demon, my financial resolution is to pay exactly zero dollars and zero cents in credit card finance charges in 1999. They've bled me for long enough.

TMF Opie (Andy), Fool Marketing: Finally, after more than two years at The Fool, I will dump my one underperforming stock mutual fund and stick the remaining funds into an S&P Index Fund. Once I figure out which 5 or so stocks to buy with the cash, I will dial into Datek, place a few orders, and then hit the Fool's message boards.

TMF Panic (Brian), Fool Writer: I resolve not to confuse America Online (NYSE: AOL) with Internet America (Nasdaq: GEEK).

TMF Cisco (Sheila), Fool Marketing: I will not buy rawhide bones at the local dog bakery when I can get them online for 75% less. I will ask that our 401(k) plan have a self-directed option so that my retirement money can be stuffed with stocks not mutual fund ridden. And I will tell my husband ahead of time when I plan to spend more than $500 on a gift for his Aunt Wilimina.

TMF Cheeze (Jerry), Fool Writer: I resolve, simply, to live below my means. That means no more gold-plated toupees, no more caviar-and-Miracle Whip sandwiches, and definitely no more filling the gas tank of my Lambourghini with champagne. And generic Chateau d'Yquem instead of that pricey brand-name stuff. Yeah, living below my means.

TMF School (Dayana), Fool Writer: I resolve to get my cousin to stop day-trading and my Mom to join the Fool community to share her real estate expertise. I also resolve to continue to live below my means by mooching rides from my co-Fools until they start asking for more gas money.

TMF Puck (Yi-Hsin), Fool Writer: I resolve not to get any more parking tickets. After wasting a few hundred bucks in 1998 for the privilege of parking along the streets of Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, and fighting off the D.C. parking enforcement thugs, I have come to the conclusion that my money can be better spent elsewhere. So I will resist the temptation of convenient parking for the more sensible space in a parking garage.

TMF Roboto (Tim), Fool Techie: I resolve to never ever use a credit card. If I need to make an online transaction, I'll use my check card from my bank. Cash, cash, cash!

TMF Parlay (Pauly), Fool Writer: I resolve in the year ahead to think about my finances and stocks in terms of years instead of months. In other words, I pledge to look at the longest term possible. I also promise not to quote any Prince lyrics in 1999. Oops, out of time.

TMF Bobala (Bob), Fool Editor: I resolve to stop spending money on all those olives, to use my credit cards for good (as in for getting cash back or frequent flyer miles on my purchases), and to open up a DRIP for my financially-ambivalent sister -- whether she likes it or not.

TMF Guitar (Kevin), Fool Techie: I resolve: 1. To take all the money I've been putting into stupid techno gadgets and drop it into savings for a down payment on a house; 2. To destroy all (as in ALL) of my credit cards; 3. To sell absolutely everything I don't use, no matter how much of a loss I take on it.

Nbgroup (Nick), Fool Writer: In the face of all the hoopla about "Internet stocks," I will stay the course and (a) hold onto value, and (b) buy more value.

TMF NoClue (Heather), Fool Features: I resolve to run for the Border only once a week no matter how convincing that little Chihuahua is. At TMF School's urging, I also resolve to reward myself with new clothes, furniture, or automobiles only when I've paid down my current debt.

TMF Fletch (Erik), Fool Co-Founder: I resolve not to invest in any company with the word "Venator" in its name.

TMF Ciao (Christina), Fool Operations: I resolve to actually account for every penny I spend.

TMF Karen (Karen), Fool Community: I will faithfully send my DRIP payments by the 10th of the month... (that is, after I have paid the mortgage!)

TMF Buck (Buck), Fool Techie: Is it too early for spring trimming and pruning? Not for me. I'm getting a head start on spring cleaning by reducing the number of stocks in my portfolio. This should make managing and tracking my portfolio even easier and less time consuming. Additionally, I will purchase stocks in greater increments. By increasing my minimum investment in a given stock and trimming my current holdings, I should live a profitable and relaxing 1999. Anyone for golf?

TMF TBD (Ed), Foolmart: My personal finance resolution is to pick an online broker, put all my holdings in street name, sell my utility and insurance stocks, and buy Foolish Four stocks.

Happy New Year, Fools!

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FoolWatch -- It's what's going on at the Fool today.

12/29/98 Close

Stock  Change    Bid
AXP   +3 1/16  105.00
CHV   -  3/16  85.13
CSCO  -  11/16 93.50
KO    +  1/2   69.38
GPS   +5 1/8   60.69
EK      ---    72.25
XON   +1 3/16  75.69
GM    +1 1/4   73.81
INTC  -1 1/16  121.06
MSFT  -1 7/8   140.50
PFE   +4 15/16 124.38
SGP   +2 3/8   56.25
TROW  -  15/16 33.56
                 Day     Month   Year    History
        R-MAKER  +1.62%   9.15%  32.90%  32.90%
        S&P:     +1.33%   6.72%  23.44%  23.44%
        NASDAQ:  +0.07%  11.91%  30.93%  30.93%

Rule Maker Stocks

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At       Now    Change
    2/3/98   24 Microsoft     78.27    140.50    79.51%
    5/1/98 55.5 Gap Inc.      34.06     60.69    78.18%
   6/23/98   34 Cisco Syst    58.41     93.50    60.07%
    2/3/98   22 Pfizer        82.30    124.38    51.13%
   2/13/98   22 Intel         84.67    121.06    42.97%
   8/21/98   44 Schering-P    47.99     56.25    17.20%
   5/26/98   18 AmExpress    104.07    105.00     0.90%
   2/27/98   27 Coca-Cola     69.11     69.38     0.39%
    2/6/98   56 T. Rowe Pr    33.67     33.56    -0.33%

Foolish Four Stocks

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change
   3/12/98   20 Exxon         64.34     75.69    17.65%
   3/12/98   20 Eastman Ko    63.15     72.25    14.41%
   3/12/98   15 Chevron       83.34     85.13     2.14%
   3/12/98   17 General Mo    72.41     73.81     1.94%

Rule Maker Stocks

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change
    2/3/98   24 Microsoft   1878.45   3372.00  $1493.55
    5/1/98 55.5 Gap Inc.    1890.33   3368.16  $1477.83
   6/23/98   34 Cisco Syst  1985.95   3179.00  $1193.05
    2/3/98   22 Pfizer      1810.58   2736.25   $925.67
   2/13/98   22 Intel       1862.83   2663.38   $800.55
   8/21/98   44 Schering-P   2111.7   2475.00   $363.30
   5/26/98   18 AmExpress   1873.20   1890.00    $16.80
   2/27/98   27 Coca-Cola   1865.89   1873.13     $7.23
    2/6/98   56 T. Rowe Pr  1885.70   1879.50    -$6.20

Foolish Four Stocks

    Rec'd    #  Security     In At     Value    Change
   3/12/98   20 Exxon       1286.70   1513.75   $227.05
   3/12/98   20 Eastman Ko  1262.95   1445.00   $182.05
   3/12/98   15 Chevron     1250.14   1276.88    $26.73
   3/12/98   17 General Mo  1230.89   1254.81    $23.92

                              CASH    $120.62
                             TOTAL  $29047.46
*Please note: On 8/4/98 $2,000 cash was added to the
portfolio. $2,000 will be added every six months.

*The year for the S&P and Nasdaq is as of 02/03/98


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