Weekend Investor: The Post Office is DOA plus…Links
I’ve been gradually moving all of my financial communications from paper mailings to electronic forms. The last straw for me was when the Post Office lost one of my tax returns last year. It was mailed on April 17th, probably went into the same truck that all the other tax returns were in, going to the same destination. And yet they still lost it. I can’t remember the last time I bought a book of stamps, it might be more than 10 years ago.
Going electronic usually means using some form of bill payment service. I started using bill payment services over 10 years ago when they were not as efficient or as easy to use as today. The old style systems could only communicate with certain payees (credit cards, banks, etc) which limited its appeal. Once the innovation of adding paper check payment made its use available to all payees, the age of bill payment started.
Oddly enough, though, these newer electronic bill payment systems still need the Post Office to complete the communications that are on the edge (doctors, lawyers, government services, other small businesses).
The growth of bill payment services reveals major flaws in the USPS business model. It isn’t enough to send a bill, or to even verify that it got there. We need to know when/if the payment was received and confirm that the money was sent. This is what customers demand now. Unfortunately for the USPS, the U.S Congress has a lot of regulatory control on it which limits how it can conduct its business and what kinds of services it can provide.
Think about if the USPS had the same CEO as Netflix. He probably would have come up with a hybrid business model to make the best of both forms of communication as the legacy mail business declines. There is a place for mail communications, it isn’t going away, but the USPS needs to be allowed to reform its business model.
WHAT I AM READING
Over at InvestItWisely, Kevin hosts a guest post from Erika (@ Newlyweds on a Budget) titled, Five Financial Conversation to Have Before You Get Married. There is some good advice here, at the very least you will be inspired to come up with you own ideas. Check out Erica’s site, it is quite entertaining concerning relationships, even if you are not a newlywed.
Ninja asks, Is McDonald’s Overpriced? This question could be asked of any number of so-called consumer secular stocks that have had a stellar year. My portfolio has benefited which I will recap later after the new year.
Investor Junkie compares REITs vs. Real Estate Investing. As an investor in both, it is necessary to understand the trade-offs.
This article, Raise Taxes On Rich to Reward True Job Creators, is thought provoking about how jobs are created because it was written by not a 1%er but a 0.1%er. Still, I can’t quite follow the logic. He makes it sound like entrepreneurs just “show up” and all of their customers “create jobs”. There’s got to be more to it than that.
Dividend Mantra asks you to Free Your Chains. While everyone might not want to go to the extreme level DM is planning, it nevertheless puts the correct spotlight on your finances, because everyone has chains keeping them from living their life to the fullest.